Voting is so central to the American system that three of the last five amendments to our Constitution deal with voting (Amendments 23, 24 and 26). Amendment 26, for instance, extends the vote to eighteen year olds.
But the American political Left (a.k.a. progressives) wants to extend the vote well beyond American teenage citizens. In hopes of creating instant Democrat voters, Al Gore's Citizenship USA program rammed through grants of citizenship by waiving qualifications. At WorldNetDaily in 2001, Kenneth R. Timmerman reported:
Citizenship USA was an initiative of Vice President Al Gore that was ostensibly part of his National Performance Review to "reinvent" government. Internal White House memos, obtained by the House Judiciary Committee in 1997, showed that the vice president was well aware that the effort could be perceived as a "pro-Democrat voter mill."
On March 28, 1996, White House aide Doug Farbrother e-mailed Gore detailing his efforts to get INS to waive fingerprinting and background checks "to make me confident they could produce a million new citizens before Election Day."
Gore then wrote Clinton: "You asked us to expedite the naturalization of nearly a million legal aliens who have applied to become citizens." The risk, Gore warned, was that "we might be publicly criticized for running a pro-Democrat voter mill and even risk having Congress stop us."
But why bother with granting aliens citizenship? In the Socialist Republic of California, San Franciscans want illegal aliens to have the vote. (If they can vote for office, shouldn't illegals be allowed to run for office, too?) In "The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting", Hans A. von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation notes:
Florida is not unique. Thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote in some states, and tens if not hundreds of thousands in total may be present on the voter rolls nationwide. These numbers are significant: Local elections are often decided by only a handful of votes, and even national elections have likely been within the margin of the number of non-citizens illegally registered to vote.
Yet there is no reliable method to determine the number of non-citizens registered or actually voting because most laws to ensure that only citizens vote are ignored, are inadequate, or are systematically undermined by government officials. Those who ignore the implications of non-citizen registration and voting either are willfully blind to the problem or may actually favor this form of illegal voting.
On January 5, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (the most reversed circuit in the nation) ruled: "Incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote in Washington to ensure that racial minorities are protected under the Voting Rights Act." The plaintiff was one Muhammad Shabazz Farrakhan.
In the twenty-first century, the other America is behind bars, literally and figuratively: with one of every 100 Americans in prison, we are establishing a perverse parallel America--a predominantly nonwhite one--and making it permanent by stripping those consigned there of the right to vote. It's a hopeful sign that a growing number of states are re-enfranchising ex-felons. Vermont, Maine and Puerto Rico never deny citizens the right to vote and even allow prisoners to vote from jail, while sixteen other states as well as the District of Columbia allow citizens to vote who are on probation or parole or who have been released from prison. Recognizing the right of ex-felons to vote would grant them the power to contest this status for others and help reintegrate them into society.
Ms. Vanden Heuvel never explained the necessity of allowing psychopaths, rapists, murderers, domestic terrorists and their like to take part in democracy. Do they have special insights on, say, the public option that the law-abiding don't?
Rachel La Corte of the AP reports: "an estimated 5.3 million people nationwide are ineligible to vote because of felony convictions." This cohort is a potential treasure trove of support for Democrats, as John Lott demonstrates that felons overwhelmingly vote Democrat. (What can we conclude from this fact about Democrat politicians?) From the Timmerman link above: "[M]ore than 80,000 aliens had fingerprint checks that generated criminal records, but they were naturalized anyway."
The Left sold your birthright for a mess of votes, and never batted an eye. Everything the Left has done vis-à-vis elections has been to expand the electorate; they couldn't care less about the integrity of our elections. In Ohio, a judge has ruled that a park bench can be used to fulfill the residency requirement for voter registration. The Left's latest assault on electoral integrity is universal voter registration, which would trample all over states' rights and create voter registration chaos.
The "new electorate" consists of convicted felons, illegal aliens, and citizens who should never have been naturalized, but were. The "new electorate" also consists of citizens who commit election fraud. What does this mean for democracy in America?
(If the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vexes you, watch the video below.)
Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.